Saturday, 31 October 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015 we left the house at 8:50 a.m. and headed to Hamilton to the Temple.  We have three of our YSA Sisters receiving their Endowment today.  They were all in our Temple Preparation class.  They are darling girls and ready for this next step in their lives.

Seanoa in the middle is one of our YSA going to the Temple for her first time.  She is a great young lady. 
Brother Pomee the Second Counsellor in our Bishopric.  He and his wife, Olivia, stayed outside with the YSA that came down for the activity but did not go into the Temple Session.
 Seini, in the plaid, is another of our YSA who went to the Temple for the first time today.  She is getting married in November to a young man in Sydney Australia.  She did not have any family members come with her so we were so grateful for such a large group of YSA support today.
Brother and Sister Tuili'ili.  He is the First Counsellor in the Bishopric.  Really fun people.

Below is a picture of most of the YSA and leaders that attended the Temple today with our three young sisters.  Kasha left with her parents and is not in the picture, she was our third.

This is the whole group that came in support today.  These are great young people.  We hope we can make a difference in their lives.

When we finished at the Temple we all headed to the Hamilton Gardens.  They fed the kids pizza and some played kickball while others walked around the gardens.  These gardens are unique because they have different gardens representing different countries.

On the left is in the Japanese Garden area.

The blossoms and flowers now are so beautiful
Nada in the entrance to the Chinese Gardens.
This is Silitaka.  He was in our Temple Preparation class but is waiting until he turns in his mission papers before he goes to the Temple.  He is a great young man.

Nada in the bamboo forest.
Turkish Garden.  There were a lot of poppies blooming in here.
Italian Garden.  This one is pretty fancy and huge.
This is the new topiary garden.  This was not open the last time we visited.  Very interesting.
Nada on the bridge in the tropical garden area.

Below is a beautiful Bird of Paradise in bloom.  Right now they are just blooming and are all over in New Zealand.  Everyone left and headed to Pokeno's for ice cream on the way home.  This was a very special, long and wonderful day. We arrived home around 7:30 p.m. We feel so blessed to be with these YSA and be involved with such an important event in their lives.  These are some of the blessings we are able to share in as missionaries serving here in New Zealand.  We are well, busy and grateful for each and every opportunity we are able to participate in.  Until next time love Elder and Sister Spencer (aka Reed and Nada)

On Saturday, August 29, 2015 we headed to Hamilton for Reed's first official carving lesson on Maori Carvings.  Ash Puriri is a Master Carver and agreed to teach Reed.  He works out of this storage shed by the side of his home.  Reed loved it and learned a lot.  Ash is the brother of one of our Self-Reliance Managers, Arama, and went with us a couple of weeks ago to Hastings for some meetings with Stake Presidents and Self-Reliance Specialists.  He showed us some of his carvings on Marae's in Hastings and told Reed he would teach him so here we are.

Reed took home a practice board and is getting pretty good.

We headed to Hastings to speak at an Education Fireside for youth and parents at the Hastings Stake on Sunday the 30th.  What a beautiful drive.  It is coming into Spring here in New Zealand and the blossoms are gorgeous.

Thursday, September 3, 2015 we went with some other Senior Missionary couples to the Circus.  Just down the street from where we live is a big open field and a Big Top Circus went up one day and then for two weeks they did performances so we decided to check it out.

It was amazing how big the inside of that tent was.  They had a big performance area and then about 8 rows of bleachers.  The performers were all young people and they did a great job.

These young boys climbed up these polls so quickly and then jumped back and forth and turned upside down.  The kids moved all the equipment and did all the performing, we never saw an adult.
They were so strong.  The oldest looked about 20 and the youngest looked about four or five.  They performed for two hours with a 15 minute intermission.  The lights were low so the pictures are not the clearest.
These young girls literally bent in half.   My back hurt for them by the end of the night.  Imagine doing this four nights a week.  Their bones must be made rubber!
This was hard to believe a body could do this.  These three girls did this over and over that night.
They were pretty amazing.  We kept praying none of them would fall or get hurt.
This girl and young man were kind of like the Prince and Princess of the night.  The balance and strength of these young people was awesome.
They were very entertaining.  They even had some comic relief between acts.  But they never spoke in English.
Not only are the holding each other up and balancing here but they are all spinning these cloth circles on their arms and legs.
These little boys kept bending themselves and performing different things inside these tubes.  We can't imagine how they can bend their bodies like that.  They were very cute and very strong for such young boys.  These three looked like the youngest in the company.

Below they are taking their final bow.  You can see their faces and see how young they are.  We are very glad we went.  It was very entertaining.

It was called the Zirka Circus.  After two weeks they dropped the Big Top, packed up their trucks and left.  Now you cannot even tell there had been a Circus with all those trucks, trailers, Circus Tent and people there.  Things grow so quickly here because of the rain and climate. 

A lot of our work is done on Sundays and in the Chapel so it is hard to post pictures and blog about that.  Hopefully you enjoy seeing some of the fun things we are able to do and beautiful places we are able to visit.  New Zealand is a very beautiful diverse country.  We feel so blessed to serve here.  Until next time.  Love Elder and Sister Spencer (aka Reed and Nada

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Hello, friends and family.  I have not blogged since July of 2015.  We have just been so busy and tired at night but today I thought I better blog again.

I am going to start with September 12, 2015, when our daughter Christy and youngest grandchild, Devree arrived in New Zealand.  We were so excited to pick them up at the airport.  Christy said Devree travelled so well and she was very cute with us when we first saw her.  She had to warm up a little but it didn't take too long.  It was so wonderful to hug Christy and have her here with us.  She is such a kind, good hearted person.  We had so much fun just being together.

Nada getting her first loves in with Devree and Christy.
Devree with her new Kiwi Bird from Grandma and Grandpa.  She had been flying for 13 hours and was being such a good girl.
We headed to Hamilton and stopped at the New Zealand Temple so Christy could see it.  We went through the visitors center that is on the Temple grounds.  Nada, Devree and Christy in the visitors center.
The beautiful New Zealand Temple.  The weather was clear and warmer than it has been. 
Devree did not want to get back into the car.  She wanted to run around, can't blame her.
Next stop was Hobbiton.  Christy, Devree, Nada and our tour guide, Sonny.  He really was a great tour guide.

This is the only Hobbit Hole you can actually step inside.  None of them are finished on the inside except for one wall in Bags End where they shot one scene.  All the other inside shots were done on set.
We really enjoyed visiting Hobbiton and Christy and Devree loved all the Hobbit Holes.  They have done a great job preserving the buildings and gardens.
Devree wanted her picture taken in front of pretty much every Hobbit Hole.

We then drove to Rotorua and stayed at the Best Western Motel.  These beautiful colourful parrots were in the tree outside our room.
We went to the Tamaki Maori village Saturday evening.  They danced, sang, showed us different games they played and crafts.  It was very informative and entertaining.
Reed participated in the Haka.
Devree, Nada, a Warrior and Christy.
We watched them unearth the Hangi, dinner.  It is chicken, lamb, kumara, potatoes and then they served some salads and fish.  It was very good.  It was a little cool but a great night.
Sunday morning we got up and headed to Hastings.  We stopped at Taupo and went to the Aratiatia Dam.  At noon they released the water to recreate the rapids.
You can see the water from the dam starting to fill up the pool.
Now the pool is full and starting to flow over the rocks and create the river rapids.

You can see the rapids behind us here.  It is very fun to watch and it lasts about half an hour is all.

We stopped at the beach in Napier and Devree picked up some rocks.  The rest of the time she was here she played with those rocks whenever we were in the car.  We checked into our motel, changed our clothes and headed to the Flaxmere Stake Center to do an Education Fireside with youth and parents.  It turned out really good.
Monday the 14th we got up and headed back to Auckland.  Christy had not even been to our flat yet.  Tirau is a little city we drive through and they have a lot of colourful signs made out of sheet metal.  This sheep dog is made out of sheet metal and is the Visitors Center here in Tirau.
Of course, we had to stop in Pokeno for an ice cream.  This is a tradition, when you go to the Temple you stop at Pokeno's for ice cream on the way home.  It is very good, flavours  you cannot buy in the stores and the cheapest prices.  Yum!!
On Tuesday Reed and Nada had to work all day.  Christy and Devree came to the office to meet the people we work with and then we walked down to Takapuna Beach.  It was much colder and windy today but we wanted them to see our beautiful beach.  Christy had dinner waiting for us when we arrived home that evening.  That was so nice.
On Wednesday, September 16, 2015, we headed to Coromandel.  First stop was Hot Water Beach.  At first Devree wasn't sure she wanted to get her feet wet but once she did we could not keep her out of the water.  It was a little cloudy but then it cleared up and ended up being a beautiful day.
Reed, Devree and Christy.  Reed loves the water and was thrilled to spend all the time he could with Devree getting her feet wet as well.
Grandpa giving Devree a ride hiking down to Cathedral Cove.
This is a Koru, a Silver Fern unfolding.  Very interesting.
We made it down to Cathedral Cove.  Devree actually walked most of the way.  So beautiful.
Devree and Grandpa having so much fun in the water.
We walked to the end of the beach of Cathedral Cove.  Christy on the rocks.
The water was blue, the beach clear and warm, the rocks are a white color and we had it almost all to ourselves.

There was water coming off these rock cliffs and Devree kept sticking her head under them to get wet.  It was hilarious.
Hiking out of Cathedral Cove.  Devree walked up all 150 steps and we had to count each one as we climbed it.  She was such a good sport.  We loved every minute with her and Christy.
This is the LDS Church in Coromandel Town.  It took us a full hour and a half longer to get home to take Christy to see this Church and the beautiful drive home going through Coromandel Town and Thames.  It was a very long day but so wonderful.

Thursday, September 17, 2015.  Today is Reed and Nada's 42nd Wedding Anniversary!  Wow, time flies when you're having fun.  We took the ferry from Devonport over to downtown Auckland.

The street lamps outside the ferry terminal in Auckland are very British looking.  Below is a picture of all of us having lunch at the Sky Tower to celebrate our anniversary.  It was very good food and we enjoyed the beautiful scenery.  It was a pretty clear day so we could see everywhere.  The restaurant is called The Orbits Restaurant on the 54th floor and it slowly rotates.

This is one of the views from the Sky Tower, a very cool church.
This is a Russian Yacht worth $500 Million Dollars.  It is Russian and the 5th largest in the world.  Pretty fancy.  We had a great day shopping for souvenirs and walking along the wharf.  Great way to celebrate our anniversary and to have Christy and Devree with us was a bonus!
Friday the 18th we headed to the Waitakere to do some hiking and playing on the beach.  First stop was KareKare Waterfall.  It had rained during the night so the water was flowing fast and it was very nice.
Devree and Reed heading to the water at Piha Beach.  Devree could not wait to get into the water.  It was a little cooler today but that did not stop her.
 Having way too much fun.
Nada took pictures because she was cold and did not want to get wet.  Reed, Devree and Christy all enjoyed the water.
Black sand everywhere!  Devree wanted to play in the wet sand not just stand in it.
Nada holding all the shoes and jackets.
 Devree rolling around in the sand.
We then headed to Kitekite Waterfall.  It is about a 20 minute walk and then some stairs to the lake under the falls.  We had to cross a little bridge that was just a log across the river because the water was a little higher today because of the rain during the night.  We had a great time.
We then drove to Murawai Beach to see the Gannett Colony.  There are around 1,000 birds building their nests.  They are beautiful birds and it was very interesting to watch them.

The water here is a little rougher and there are usually surfers out.  It rained for a few minutes and then cleared up.

We stayed until the sun went down.  It looks like it falls right into the ocean.  Beautiful evening.

On Sunday, September 20th we drove to One Tree Hill on our way to church.  We wanted them to see all around Auckland.  It rained a little bit but we were still able to see the 360 degree view of Auckland, Manukau and all the surrounding towns.  This was our last adventure together.
Heading back to the car to go to church.  We took them to the airport at 7:00 p.m.  We loved having them here and enjoyed every single minute.  It was very hard to say good bye and have them get on that plane back to Utah.  We are so blessed to have had Christy and Devree come and share our mission with us and visit some of our favourite places in New Zealand.

We are well, busy and grateful for such a wonderful family.  Until next time.  Love Reed and Nada (aka, Elder and Sister Spencer.)